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Commonwealth countries lagging behind on action against modern slavery, says report

File photo for representational purpose only.

File photo for representational purpose only.   | Photo Credit: REUTERS

With Commonwealth countries accounting for about 40% of people living in conditions of modern slavery in the world, the 54 nations were found lacking in actions to eradicate modern slavery by 2030, according to a report released by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) and an international anti-slavery organisation Walk Free, on Thursday, on the occasion of World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.

The report stated that India had fared the worst in terms of coordination, “with no national coordinating body or National Action Plan in place”.

“Commonwealth countries have made little progress towards their commitment to eradicate modern slavery by 2030, despite an estimated one in every 150 people in the Commonwealth living in conditions of modern slavery,” CHRI and Walk Free said in a statement.

The report assessed the progress made by Commonwealth countries on the promises made in 2018 to end modern slavery by 2030 and achieve the Sustainable Development Goal of ending forced labour, human trafficking and child labour. The report found that one-third of the Commonwealth countries had criminalised forced marriage, while 23 had not criminalised commercial sexual exploitation of children.

“Out of 54 countries, only four engage with business to investigate supply chains, and all countries report gaps in victim assistance programs,” the statement said.

India, like all other Commonwealth countries in Asia, had not ratified the International Labour Organisation’s 2011 Domestic Workers Convention or the 2014 Forced Labour Protocol. The report said India accounted for one-third of all child brides in the world. None of the Asian countries in the group had implemented laws against forced labour in supply chains, it said.

While the report found that national coordination plans in all Asian Commonwealth countries were weak, it said: “Despite being the largest country in the region, India has the weakest response on national coordination, with no national coordinating body or National Action Plan in place.”

CHRI international director Sanjoy Hazarika said the report showed that time was running out for Commonwealth countries to deliver on the promises made at the last Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London in 2018.

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Printable version | Sep 24, 2020 6:56:47 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/commonwealth-countries-lagging-behind-on-action-against-modern-slavery-says-report/article32233622.ece

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